Multiple Apps

Alternate MsgBox function with improved text display

Ease of Use

Easy

Version tested with

2000, 2003 

Submitted by:

MWE

Description:

MsgBox2, an improved version of MsgBox, does not limit text display to approx 1024 characters 

Discussion:

MsgBox is one of the most useful VB/VBA functions and it would be unlikely to find a VB/VBA application that did not use MsgBox at least once. Unfortunately MsgBox has several not-easily-solved limitations, e.g., text size, text font, colors, and amount of text. The former are irritating, but probably not fatal. The latter, i.e., the amount of text that can be easily displayed via the Prompt string, is non-trivial. MsgBox limits the number of characters to ~ 1024 (the exact number depends on the actual characters displayed). If the length of Prompt is greater, the remaining characters are not displayed. This can be particularly annoying (and possibly disastrous) if the last few words clarify an important result or what options are available or what is expected of the user. An alternative to MsgBox is a custom UserForm. This is a good solution if one wants to improve several of MsgBox?s limitations, but may be overkill if just displaying more text is desired. MsgBox2 eliminates this limit by breaking the Prompt string into displayed blocks of approx 900 characters each. For each block except the last, MsgBox2 displays the block and adds a line feed and special text suggesting that ?more data? is coming. The special text is defined by the appl developer. The current text is ? ... press any button except CANCEL to see next block of text ... ? Text blocks are broken at logical separators: blanks; line feeds; or ?returns?. Thus a Prompt string of, say, 2000 characters would be displayed in 3 blocks, the first two of approximately 900 characters (ending with CrLf and ?? more ??) and a final block with approximately 200 characters. Each display is tested for ?Cancel? and, if encountered, MsgBox2 exits with a functional value equal to vbCancel or 2 (the numerical value for vbCancel). MsgBox2 also supports an ?end-of-block? option. If the end-of-block character sequence is encountered (presently set to ?||?), MsgBox2 will automatically display the current buffer regardless of length. Although simple is concept and execution, MsgBox2 is a very handy and useful function. MsgBox2 can be used in any VBA application. The demo is Excel based. 

Code:

instructions for use

			

Option Explicit Function MsgBox2(Prompt As String, _ Optional Buttons As VbMsgBoxStyle = vbOKOnly, _ Optional Title As String = "Microsoft Excel", _ Optional HelpFile As String, _ Optional Context As Long) As VbMsgBoxResult ' '**************************************************************************************** ' Title MsgBox2 ' Target Application: any ' Function: substitute for standard MsgBox; displays more text than the ~1024 character ' limit of MsgBox. Displays blocks of approx 900 characters (properly split ' at blanks or line feeds or "returns" and adds some "special text" to suggest ' that more text is coming for each block except the last. Special text is ' easily changed. ' ' An EndOfBlack separator is also supported. If found, MsgBox2 will only ' display the characters through the EndOfBlock separator. This provides ' complete control over how text is displayed. The current separator is ' "||". ' Limitations: the optional values for MsgBox display, i.e., Buttons, Title, HelpFile, ' and Context are the same for each block of text displayed. ' Passed Values: same arguement list and type as standard MsgBox ' '**************************************************************************************** ' ' Dim CurLocn As Long Dim EndOfBlock As String Dim EOBIndex As Integer Dim EOBLen As Integer Dim Index As Integer Dim MaxLen As Integer Dim OldIndex As Integer Dim strMoreToCome As String Dim strTemp As String Dim ThisChar As String Dim TotLen As Integer ' ' set procedure variable that control how/what procedure does: ' ' EndOfBlock is the string variable containing the character or characters ' that denote the end of a block of text. These characters are not displayed. ' Do not use a character or characters that might be used in normal text. ' MaxLen is the maximum number of characters to be displayed at one time. The ' limit for MsgBox is approx 1024, but that depends on the particular chars ' in the prompt string. 900 is a safe number as long as the len(strMoreToCome) ' is reasonable. ' strMoreToCome is text displayed at the bottom of each block indicating that more ' text/data is coming. ' EndOfBlock = "||" MaxLen = 900 strMoreToCome = " ... press any button except CANCEL to see next block of text ... " EOBLen = Len(EndOfBlock) CurLocn = 0 OldIndex = 1 TotLen = 0 NextBlock: ' ' test for special break and, if found, that it is not the last chars in Prompt ' EOBIndex = InStr(1, Mid(Prompt, OldIndex, MaxLen), EndOfBlock) If EOBIndex > 0 And CurLocn < Len(Prompt) - 1 Then CurLocn = EOBIndex + OldIndex - 1 strTemp = Mid(Prompt, OldIndex, CurLocn - OldIndex) TotLen = TotLen + Len(strTemp) + EOBLen OldIndex = CurLocn + EOBLen GoTo MidDisplay End If ' ' no special break, handle as normal block ' Index = OldIndex + MaxLen ' ' test for last block ' If Index > Len(Prompt) Then strTemp = Mid(Prompt, OldIndex, Len(Prompt) - OldIndex + 1) LastDisplay: MsgBox2 = MsgBox(strTemp, Buttons, Title, HelpFile, Context) Exit Function End If ' ' not last display; process block ' CurLocn = Index NextIndex: ThisChar = Mid(Prompt, CurLocn, 1) If ThisChar = " " Or _ ThisChar = Chr(10) Or _ ThisChar = Chr(13) Then ' ' block break found ' strTemp = Mid(Prompt, OldIndex, CurLocn - OldIndex + 1) TotLen = TotLen + Len(strTemp) OldIndex = CurLocn + 1 MidDisplay: ' ' display current block of text appending string indicating that ' more text is to come. Then test if user hit Cancel button or ' equivalent; if so, exit MsgBox2 without further processing ' MsgBox2 = MsgBox(strTemp & vbCrLf & strMoreToCome, _ Buttons, Title, HelpFile, Context) If MsgBox2 = vbCancel Then Exit Function GoTo NextBlock End If CurLocn = CurLocn - 1 If CurLocn > OldIndex Then GoTo NextIndex ' ' no blanks, CR's, LF's or special breaks found in previous block ' display these characters and move on ' strTemp = Mid(Prompt, OldIndex, MaxLen) CurLocn = OldIndex + MaxLen TotLen = TotLen + Len(strTemp) OldIndex = CurLocn + 1 GoTo MidDisplay End Function Sub MsgBox2_Test(TestNum) ' '**************************************************************************************** ' Title MsgBox2_Test ' Target Application: any ' Function; demos use of MsgBox2 ' Limitations: none ' Passed Values: none '**************************************************************************************** ' ' Dim I As Long Dim Answer As VbMsgBoxResult Dim strPrompt As String Select Case TestNum Case Is = 1 strPrompt = "Initial stuff ..." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf For I = 48 To 122 strPrompt = strPrompt & String(25, Chr(I)) & vbCrLf Next I strPrompt = strPrompt & vbCrLf & "... final stuff" Answer = MsgBox2(strPrompt, vbYesNoCancel, "1st Demo of MsgBox2") Case Is = 2 strPrompt = "Initial stuff ..." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf For I = 48 To 122 strPrompt = strPrompt & String(25, Chr(I)) Next I strPrompt = strPrompt & vbCrLf & "... final stuff" Answer = MsgBox2(strPrompt, vbYesNoCancel, "2nd Demo of MsgBox2") Case Is = 3, 4 strPrompt = "MsgBox is one of the most useful VB/VBA functions and it would be unlikely " & _ "to find a VB/VBA application that did not use MsgBox at least once. Unfortunately " & _ "MsgBox has several not-easily-solved limitations, e.g., text size, text font, " & _ "colors, and amount of text. The former are irritating, but probably not fatal. " & _ "The latter, i.e., the amount of text that can be easily displayed via the Prompt " & _ "string, is non-trivial. MsgBox limits the number of characters to ~ 1024 (the " & _ "exact number depends on the actual characters displayed). If the length of Prompt " & _ "is greater, the remaining characters are not displayed. This can be particularly " & _ "annoying (and possibly disastrous) if the last few words clarify an important " & _ "result or what options are available or what is expected of the user." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "||" strPrompt = strPrompt & _ "An alternative to MsgBox is a custom UserForm. This is a good solution if one " & _ "wants to improve several of MsgBox's limitations, but may be overkill if just " & _ "displaying more text is desired." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "||" & _ "MsgBox2 eliminates this limit by breaking the Prompt string into displayed blocks " & _ "of approx 900 characters each. For each block except the last, MsgBox2 displays " & _ "the block and adds a line feed and special text suggesting that 'more data' is " & _ "coming. The special text is defined by the appl developer. The current text is " & _ vbCrLf & " ... press any button except CANCEL to see next block of text ..." & vbCrLf & _ "Text blocks are broken at " & _ "logical separators: blanks; line feeds; or 'returns'. Thus a Prompt string of, " & _ "say, 2000 characters would be displayed in 3 blocks, the first two of approximately " & _ "900 characters (ending with CrLf and '? more ?') and a final block with " & _ "approximately 200 characters. Each display is tested for 'Cancel' and, if " & _ "encountered, MsgBox2 exits with a functional value equal to vbCancel or 2 (the " & _ "numerical value for vbCancel)" & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "||" & _ "MsgBox2 also supports an 'end-of-block' option. If the end-of-block character " & _ "sequence is encountered (see code for current setting), MsgBox2 will automatically " & _ "display the current buffer regardless of length." & vbCrLf & vbCrLf & "||" & _ "Although simple is concept and execution, MsgBox2 is a very handy and" & vbCrLf & _ "useful function. MsgBox2 can be used in any VBA application." & vbCrLf & _ "The demo is Excel based." If TestNum = 3 Then Answer = MsgBox2(strPrompt, vbYesNoCancel, "3rd Demo of MsgBox2") If TestNum = 4 Then MsgBox2 strPrompt, vbYesNoCancel, "4th Demo of MsgBox2" Case Else MsgBox "Invalid case fo MsgBox2_Test", vbCritical End Select If TestNum < 4 Then MsgBox "MsgBox2 return = " & MsgBoxResult(Answer) End Sub Function MsgBoxResult(Result As VbMsgBoxResult) As String ' '**************************************************************************************** ' Title MsgBoxResult ' Target Application: any ' Function: returns (as a string) the "vb constant" associated with a MsgBox result ' Limitations: none ' Passed Values: ' Result [input, type=vbMsgBoxResult] result or from call to MsgBox '**************************************************************************************** ' ' Select Case Result Case Is = 1 MsgBoxResult = "vbOK" Case Is = 2 MsgBoxResult = "vbCancel" Case Is = 3 MsgBoxResult = "vbAbort" Case Is = 4 MsgBoxResult = "vbRetry" Case Is = 5 MsgBoxResult = "vbAbort" Case Is = 6 MsgBoxResult = "vbYes" Case Is = 7 MsgBoxResult = "vbNo" Case Else MsgBoxResult = "UNKNOWN" End Select End Function

How to use:

  1. Copy the above code.
  2. Open any workbook.
  3. Press Alt + F11 to open the Visual Basic Editor (VBE).
  4. In the left side window, hi-lite the target spreadsheet [it will likely be called VBAProject(filename.xls) where filename is the name of the spreadsheet]
  5. Select an existing code module for the target worksheet; or from the Insert Menu, choose Insert | Module.
  6. Paste the code into the right-hand code window.
  7. Close the VBE, save the file if desired.
  8. See ?Test The Code? below
 

Test the code:

  1. Open the Excel example
  2. The demonstration spreadsheet contains a single worksheet with four buttons to start each test procedure. The first test procedure loads the MsgBox Prompt string with approx 2046 characters. The text string starts with "Initial stuff ..." and ends with "? Final stuff ". In between are 75 lines of repeated characters. The first is a string of zeros, the second a string of 1?s, and so on through upper case, lower case and some special characters.
  3. The second test proc loads the Prompt string with the same data as example 1 except the 75 ?lines? of repeated characters do not have a vbCrLf at the end of each lines. This demonstrates what MsgBox2 will do when it can not find a logical break point in the current block of 950 characters. It just breaks the current block at character 950, displays that block and moves on. The final test proc loads the contents of the description file for this KB into the Prompt string.
  4. The third test proc loads the Prompt string with the text from the Discussion block above and uses the EndOfBlock feature to separate paragraphs.
  5. In the first 3 tests, MsgBox2 is called as a function with a return value, e.g., Answer = MsgBox2 ( Prompt, ?)
  6. The fourth test proc uses the same Prompt string as #3 but calls MsgBox2 without a function value return, e.g., MsgBox2 Prompt, ?
 

Sample File:

MsgBox2.zip 24.93KB 

Approved by mdmackillop


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